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Re: NFC: Setting up tank

Kristine Weisbrod Massin wrote:
> Hi
> I work at a nature center in the Colorado Shortgrass prairie region (okay,
> these days it's mostly subdevelopments...but once upon a time it was
> shortgrass prairie).  We have just under $2500 to set up a native fish tank
> (some one is leaving so we have her salary).  I was planning on just doing a
> 180 gal blue gill tank since that is the most suitable fish in our lakes
> (also have pike, largemouth bass, channel cats--these were man-made lakes so
> were stocked with sport fish before we aquired the land).
> Does anyone have a complete list of EVERYTHING I will need to buy for this
> project?  I don't really trust the stores to give me a complete list...and
> all my tanks at home are more in the 50 gal range so I'm not used to the
> wet-dry filters.

There's a strong group of aquarists around Denver who might be able to help.
Find the meeting time of the local Aquarium Society and attend a meeting to
get acquainted. That's often the primo source of such help. They know the
local sources, and most of all, the useful tricks. George Booth, in the Ft.
Collins area keeps a bunch of bigger tanks, and is a fountain of knowledge
on how to keep plants in your tank.

Budget in a chiller, as *180G* is a lot smaller than a lake, and you can get
some pretty hot spells at times. Many natives will tolerate tropical
temperatures, but they will only really thrive at lower values.

> Also, does anyone have suggestions for better fish representive of NE
> Colorado prairie?  Ideally, I'd like truly native fish.  However, they do
> have to be moderately low maintenance (as much as that can be said for any
> fish :) ) as I'm the only one likely to invest any time in this...and my
> schedule is exceedingly full already.

Many shiners and chubs fit that need, and your area has a nice variety
available. Get a copy of Peterson Field Guide -- Freshwater Fishes, and scan
the distribution maps in the back for more species than you will ever want
to keep. It's cheap at Amazon, if not available in your local library.

The shad and sturgeon may need more open waters, but stonerollers and
darters (you have both) are good. You are in the range of the Green Sunfish
and on the edge of the Orangespotted Sunfish.

I would put a school of Plains Killifish (*Fundulus zebrinus*) at the head
of *my* want list for your area's natives. :-)


Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679  huntleyone at home dot com

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